If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you have probably heard me babble on and on about the YOU ARE AWESOME posters. They are customizable posters like the one in the photo above and I LOVE THEM very much. I believe in them. I started making them (years ago) for my kids... because I also love my kids very much and wanted them to have a solid piece of art that looked them square in the face everday and shouted a powerful and positive affirmation at them: PILOT, YOU ARE AWESOME. PENN, YOU ARE AWESOME. POET, YOU ARE AWESOME. You are loved. And you are brilliant. You are WORTHY of your biggest and grandest dreams. YOU MATTER.
I designed the posters just before Penn was born - more than 5 years ago. (In fact, here's the story.) I thought it would be a project that I'd do for a few weeks and that would be it. I didn't think ahead. I didn't have a strategy. I definitely didn't have a goal. I didn't have a long-term systems-management plan. I didn't know what I was getting into. I didn't really think about it. I didn't suspect that, just like me, other people wanted to give their kids/friends/parents/cousins/spouses/lovers/neighbours a powerful, positive affirmation, too.
But man, they did.
So I made posters. Heavy on passion and maybe light on systems, in the past 5 years, I have designed ridiculous amounts of YOU ARE AWESOME posters and Dan has shipped every one of them. We have struggled with CanadaPost. And time management. And file management. And sometimes communication management. Comes with the territory, I guess.
Life would get overwhelming and I'd stop offering the posters because I couldn't keep up. But, sure enough - my inbox would fill up for posters requests - and I would bring them back. Because people wanted to tell other people that they were awesome. THAT'S SOMETHING THE WORLD NEEDS MORE OF. And I want to be a part of it.
I'd take as many orders as I could, but it would get overwhelming again. I have three small kids and a busy studio and a full gamut of volunteer activities. Penn just recently started sleeping through the night (wow, night terrors are the WORST.) Life was full. Oh, and then there was that time that I wasn't offering the posters and Brené Brown posted about them... WOW. Life was exciting and suddenly I was offering the posters again! (Brené, I love you so much.)
TRUTH: I feel a tremendous amount of pride when I make someone a poster that they love. I love design. I love working in Adobe Illustrator. I love colours. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE seeing people's names and hearing their stories. I simply love the posters.
TRUTH: I don't love shipping. Or printing. Or feeling like I've let people down when I make mistakes. Or losing control. Or spending hours and hours and hours at the computer. I don't love CanadaPost or getting the emails that say "YOU WRECKED CHRISTMAS because our posters didn't show up in time." I really had gotten emails like that and I take them very personally. I don't like failing.
I needed to change things. In a big hurry because it wasn't working and I was most-defintely failing: my health, my family and my self.
I decided to ask my friend Heidi to partner with me. I was nervous. She's amazing. She love all the things I do not love. She's so smart. I love + respect her. She likes lists and plans and thinking ahead. And SEO. She owns a very successful company that is ridiculously good at making things ridiculously good. (You've probably seen them in Martha Stewart and Starbucks and places like that.) I figured Heidi probably wouldn't be interested in my sily posters and then I would retire them for good. I owed my family that. I owed my schedule. I owed my friends and most importantly my health + my girls.
Heidi WAS IN! She was excited! Seems she believes in the posters, too.
TRUTH: asking for help is hard. Humbling. I hadn't asked for help because I didn't want to disappoint any one. NAKED TRUTH: I'm still worried about disappointing people.
TRUTH: I can't do it all. The entire You Are Awesome poster adventure has taught me a great deal about a great deal... It's been tough + easy. I'm SO HAPPY the posters are still in the world and I am still a part of them.
What does this mean? It means the posters will be available ALL THE TIME - not just here and there! New designs. A RADICALLY-cool new charity partnership in the works. It means easier ordering FOR YOU. Faster proofs. OMG, it means BETTER SHIPPING. It means CHRISTMAS WILL NEVER BE RUINED AGAIN. :)
So please, please come check out the new shop! We're still tinkering a bit but I'd love to see you over at YOUareAWESOMEco.com. The classic posters are even more beautiful. There are also some beautiful new posters. I am very much still a big part of things.
Because I believe in the posters.
I wanted to THANK YOU from the bottom of my being. You're a part of this story and YOU are awesome.